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Getaway to Baix Llobregat: Vines, wines and Gaudí

Take a trip with a wide variety of activities just a stone’s throw away from Barcelona

It seems to be practically human nature to exclude places close to home base when planning a holiday. If you were to ask anyone who lives in Barcelona if they've ever been to the mines of Gavà or to Colonia Güell, you'd probably get a lot of shaking heads. Now's your chance to see more of the area than most locals as you take a 48-hour trip to Baix Llobregat and get to know some of its attractions.

Afternoon day 1: Finca Ca n'Estella

A beautiful farm building dating from 1800. Vines, some of which are hundreds of years old, with macabeo, xarel·lo, malvasia, tempranillo and merlot grapes, among others. A family that love the land and their work and have devoted their lives to this project. The result of all of this: Clot dels Oms wines and Rabetllat i Vidal cavas, and awards and recognition in abundance. All of this is what you'll find at Finca Ca n'Estella in Sant Esteve Sesrovires, a place you can explore in several ways: participating in a commented tasting, walking among the vines, taking a guided tour with a tasting and even staying there to eat. For wine lovers, it's a destination that deserves a place on your calendar.

Morning day 2: Farmers’ Market

Morning day 2: Farmers’ Market

This morning you're going to head for the Colonia Güell in Santa Coloma de Cervelló. You'll have enough time to admire the colony itself in the afternoon, but assuming it's Saturday, we recommend you spend the morning in the market, which attracts farmers from the nearby Baix Llobregat Agricultural Park, who set up their stalls here once a week to sell seasonal products that are locally sourced and of top quality. This farmers' market is held every Saturday from 9am to 2pm, selling produce that hasn't spent hours or days being transported in lorries. Don’t forget to bring your shopping baskets.

Afternoon day 2: The Gaudí Crypt

Afternoon day 2: The Gaudí Crypt

While you were walking around the farmers' market you might have noticed that you're not in just any industrial colony. It's now time to visit it in depth, observing its Catalan modernist–style buildings, and especially taking time to visit the crypt designed by Antoni Gaudí, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Notice that every column is different, observe the artistry of the furniture and the pretty stained-glass windows in the shape of a pineapple that work like a sun clock. The businessman Eusebi Güell commissioned Gaudí to carry out the design and the construction of the whole church, the architect spent a decade working on it, producing the first wire models with parabolic chains and meshes, but the Güell family’s money problems meant that he was only able to complete the crypt. In any case, it's hard to put into words what this place transmits to visitors, so the best thing is to visit it yourself. If you want to make sure that you catch all of the details, sign up for a guided tour or use an audio guide.

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Morning day 3: Mines from 6,000 years ago

Morning day 3: Mines from 6,000 years ago

The last day of your visit to Baix Llobregat sees a complete change of environment. You'll leave Gaudí, Catalan modernism and industrial colonies behind and delve into the world of mines. Head for the Gavà Archaeological Park, which contains the mining complex with the oldest galleries in Europe. People started digging here six millennia ago in search of variscite, a green-coloured mineral they used to make jewellery and which, according to historians, they believed to possess magical and religious powers. A small section of the mine can still be visited, and in the park’s museum you can learn how the early settlers in the region mined and lived 6,000 years ago. But if you want to see the Venus of Gavà and some of the other objects found in the mines, you'll need to stop in at the Gavà Museum.

Afternoon day 3: A couple of hours of relaxation

Afternoon day 3: A couple of hours of relaxation

Your trip is nearly over and we still haven't sent you for a swim at any of the region’s beaches, which is just unforgivable, especially if you're visiting during the hot summer months. There are only four towns in Baix Llobregat that have beaches: Castelldefels, Gavà, Viladecans and El Prat de Llobregat. But there's certainly plenty of sun and sand here. Many of the beaches fly a blue flag and are also located close to areas of great natural importance – pine groves frequently compete for space with sunbathers. So put on some sunscreen and take a dip before saying goodbye to the region.

Les Marines

This is a great restaurant in all senses of the word: for the good food on offer, which is based on avant-garde Mediterranean cuisine, and for its spacious dining areas, which make it the ideal venue for large-scale celebrations. It also has gardens, private parking, and fantastic surroundings, since it's set amid pine trees next to the sea. Choose one of the fixed-price menus – tasting or gastronomic – and you’ll discover the variety and quality of the dishes served here.

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Plats

Maximum creativity based on top-quality, locally sourced produce. Dining at Plats, which is located very near Gavarra metro station in Cornellà de Llobregat, is quite an experience. An excellent option is to order the tasting menu with paired wine, but if you prefer something lighter and cheaper, the fixed-price menu also embodies all of the culinary expertise of chef Xavier Llanos.

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Andalucía

With a name that gives a clue as to the provenance of its owners, good value for money, excellent stone-grilled steaks, soupy rice, carpaccios and seafood, facilities for celebrations, elegant decoration, and a good location in the centre of Castelldefels, it’s certainly worthwhile going to eat at this restaurant, which has been offering friendly service to its customers for decades.

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El Diván de los Sentidos

Slow food, market cuisine, locally sourced produce bought from Fair Trade establishments, healthy recipes, and the aim is to give a sense to gastronomy that goes far beyond eating just for the sake of eating. Here they seek to nourish the spirit through employing good and fair working practices. The restaurant’s cosy dining room provides the right setting for putting this approach into practice.

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Torreón

Highlights of Torreón: it's been in business for four decades (always a good sign); it's set in a piney location next to the sea; it's recently been redecorated; it has a deli-style shop where you can buy dishes to take home, along with a wide selection of wine, oil and liqueurs; the wine list is very competitive; and you can order half-sized portions of all the dishes. All of these factors make it a worthy option to consider when travelling in this region.

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Flora Parc

Located in Castelldefels, this hotel is a great choice for beach lovers, with the sea only a three-minute drive away. It’s great for families, with its spacious rooms, a modest-size swimming pool and a total of 68 rooms of different categories. It’s also located near the Olympic Canal and is therefore great for anyone who wants to practise sports, and not just water sports either.

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Hotel Esplugues

While it has few luxuries, this recently refurbished hotel is located near Barcelona and the most interesting attractions in the Baix Llobregat region and is very well connected to public transport. It’s a modern, pleasant establishment with single, double and triple rooms and serves generous breakfasts. It’s handy for visiting the nearby Rajoleta factory where the ceramic tiles for La Pedrera were made.

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Catalonia Bristol

This cosy three-star hotel is located in the shopping area of Sant Andreu de la Barca and has an outstanding restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine using locally sourced products. At breakfast time, guests can choose between three types of buffet.

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Hotel Pitort

The recently constructed Hotel Pitort is a functional two-star establishment that's nicely decorated and located in a quiet residential area, halfway between the coast and the commercial centre of Castelldefels. It has a bar/café with outside seating where you can enjoy a buffet breakfast, WiFi, and free parking for guests. All of its rooms are different.

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NH Cornellà

This NH chain hotel is located in the very centre of Cornellà, just a ten-minutes walk from train, metro and bus links, so visitors who want to can visit Barcelona and the Baix Llobregat region while leaving the car behind for a few days, moving around easily with public transport. This is a well-equipped three-star establishment with cosy rooms and a magnificent swimming pool that's ideal for relaxing.

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Parc Arqueològic Mines de Gavà

The Study Centre at the Gavà prehistoric mine site brings back what life here was like 6,000 years ago, when the local Neolithic community began to work the local variscite mines. As well as offering visits to a small part of the mine, the centre features audiovisual and explanatory modules and a scale reproduction of the mines. Many of the items discovered here can be found in the Gavà Museum.

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Beyond Barcelona

Teatre de la Passió d'Esparreguera

With more than 1,700 seats and a stage measuring 375 square metres, the Teatre de la Passió d'Esparreguera is one of the largest theatres in Catalonia. Although the performances of the Passion Play are the theatre’s true raison d’être, it also has a varied programme of theatrical performances throughout the year, as well as concerts, and a drama school dedicated to the performance of the Passion Play.

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Conjunt històric de la colònia Güell

The Colònia Güell complex dates from 1890, when the textile industrialist Eusebi Güell decided to move his El Vapor Vell cotton factory from the neighbourhood of Sants in Barcelona to the village of Santa Coloma de Cervelló. It's made up of the factory colony itself, a study centre, and the Gaudí-designed crypt. You can carry out your visit with the help of audio guides or, if you prefer, there are guided tours at noon on Sundays and public holidays. On Saturday mornings, you'll find a farmers' market, where local produce is sold.

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Llobregat Delta and Agricultural Park

The Llobregat delta has plenty of places open to visitors. You can explore its marshes, ponds, pools and beaches on foot or by bicycle. The protected area includes the Baix Llobregat Agricultural Park, one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the country. Another interesting feature of your visit to the Baix Llobregat is the possibility of acquiring products from local farmers who sell their produce directly to the public.

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Castell de Castelldefels

The Castle of Castelldefels, which first appears in documents dating from the 10th century and which is located on top of a hill, has largely been restored and can be visited on the second Sunday of every month. Among the spaces open to the public are the courtyard, the fencing hall, the Santa Maria church and the stables. The castle also offers views of the Garraf Massif, Collserola, the plain of Barcelona, Montjuïc, the Llobregat Delta and the coastline.

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